When the week started, I was dealing with a lot of news, a
freelancer out in Utah, and a publishing company that had decided
to block our links to one of their Web sites. Rolling up my
sleeves, I set to work on all of these challenges, confident that I
could makes some accomplishments.
Well, the news went out without too many hitches and the
freelancer at BrainShare has turned in some good copy. The
publishing company...? Well, two out of three isn't bad, right?
Discussions between CMP Media and myself went back and forth via
e-mail until Wednesday of this week. We each sought a fair
resolution to the problem before us: what constituted fair use of
CMP's material. Unfortunately, our ideas of what constitutes fair
use were vastly different. CMP not only objected to the amount of
material being excerpted from their articles, but they also had
strong reservations about the current design and layout of articles
on Linux Today.
At this point, I decided that this wasn't worth the effort. CMP
Media is host to some excellent sites with good writers--but the
simple truth is, their content is not unique. If CMP has chosen to
protect their sites intellectual property by blocking links from
certain referring sites, then that is certainly their right. But
the inconvenience they have created for LT readers is too much.
Linux Today does not feel it has infringed on the copyright of
CMP Media or any other content provider, as we abide by fair use under US
copyright law. I think we do a pretty good job: in the 11,310
stories I have personally posted since working for Linux Today,
there have only been two complaints of over-excerpting, and this
was the second. Still, I have no plans to rest on this good record:
Linux Today respects the copyrights of all of the content providers
to which we link and will continually work to maintain that
Linux Today is here to provide a service: to serve as a central
clearinghouse for Linux- and open-source-related information for
its readers and to drive traffic to Web sites providing that
information. Some would argue that since we advertise and make
money from this practice, we are benefiting from other people's
copy. To this, I would put forth this statement: on a given day,
the work we do alerts readers to an average of 27 stories and most
of the sites we link to are glad to have the exposure.
CMP's decision to block Linux Today links has led me to
stipulate this policy: from now on, Linux Today will refrain from
linking to any CMP Media sites for news and information.
I am sure CMP Media has their own opinion of Linux Today, and I
know from the tenor of our discussions that it is not a very
positive one. While that is regrettable, we can stand with a clear
conscience. Perhaps they will even publish their own interpretation
of these events, which will give their side of the story.
I look forward to reading such a statement... too bad we can't
link to it.
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